Mental health and learning disability milestones through the decades

Since the NHS was founded on 5 July 1948 there have been huge changes in the way we think about mental health and learning disability – and in how we support people. Take a look at some of the key milestones and developments over the last 70 years and how they have affected what we do in Devon.

In 1959

In

1959

Five years after the Percy Report, the 1959 Mental Health Act seeks to create a legal framework within which the treatment of mental disorders in hospital is as close as possible to that of physical illnesses. 

 

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In

1957

A ground-breaking documentary series, The Hurt Mind, is shown on the BBC. The series attempts to destigmatise mental health.

In 1954

In

1954

The Percy Commission decides mentally ill people are to be treated in the community, not in large institutions. Mental health care is absorbed into the NHS.

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In 1954

In

1954

Anti-psychotic drug Thorazine (Chlorpromazine) is introduced. It marks a fundamental change in history, enabling more people to be cared for outside of a hospital/institutional setting leading the way for introducing the more modern treatment approaches we have today.

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In 1953

In

1953

Samaritans movement starts. Chad Varah takes the first call on 2 November.  The first 24-hour helpline in the world.

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